September 27, 2023

Bucs Life

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The Aftermath: NFL week #12

8 min read

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Thanksgiving Week

 I hope everyone enjoyed Football and Turkey over the long weekend. If you are a big football fan, there’s no extended weekend during the year that offers better football than Thanksgiving weekend. From College Rivalry Week to the NFL, just like the big dinner, there’s plenty to choose from on your holiday lineup. The Bucs held on and won a very big game. Ohio State was shot down by Jim Harbaugh and the Big Blue of Michigan — It was Harbaugh’s first victory over OSU since arriving in Ann Arbor. The Seminoles went down in the Swamp. So I was all smiles, through Sunday. I’m adding my list of the top 14 teams (14 teams make the playoffs) in the NFL this week. Here comes The Aftermath of week #12.


Holiday Matchups


Chicago at Detroit (16-14)

This one about put me to sleep before the tryptophan did. If it wasn’t for tradition, would Detroit ever get a key nationally televised game? Neither of these two is going anywhere anytime soon. I’m only listing it because of the holiday. It’s amazing how these two teams stay so consistently bad; moving on.


Raiders at Cowboys (36-33)

This was by far the game of the day. Another game lost by a team most people thought would be cruising through a team like the Raiders at this point in the season. They didn’t do any cruising at home against the Broncos three weeks before this one, and they couldn’t outlast the Raiders on Turkey Day either. In the last four games, the only victory they had was against the hapless Falcons. Cee Dee Lamb and Amari Cooper both missed this one, leaving Michael Gallup (5 receptions 106 yds) and Cedrick Wilson (7 receptions 104 yds) to pick up the slack. The Cowboys, who looked so strong after losing to the Bucs in the season opener, have looked average at best in consecutive losses to the Chiefs and Raiders, respectively, and are floundering trying to get back on track. Their first chance will be on another Thursday game this week at the Saints. We shall see.

Bills at Saints (31-6)

The Bills regained playoff form in the Big Easy for the Turkey Day nightcap. This one, unless you are a Bills fan, was another yawner. It did help with all the perplexed looks on Bills fans’ faces after dropping three of their last six. It all started in an embarrassing loss to Meyer’s Jaguars. It seems like they hadn’t been able to shake that game ever since. This win could be a signal they have found their way back.


Sunday’s Matchup


Steelers at Bengals (10-41)

This game may have answered two big questions. One: Are the Steelers a playoff team this season? That would be a no. Two: Are the Bengals finally a playoff team again? That would be a yes. The Steelers are only at .500 and own the cellar of the AFC North. The Bengals are 7-4 and, as of this game, appear to have no glaring weakness as they battle the Ravens for division supremacy. Did anyone see those funky uniforms the Bengals were sporting? Not too shabby. The Bengals always seem to do some original things with their uniforms. So the Bengals won the game and the fashion statement. Stay tuned to Joe Burrow and the boys; it’s getting interesting in the city that once elected Jerry Springer Mayor. In other words, anything goes!!


Buccaneers at Colts (38-31)

This was a game that had me worried. I knew deep down that this game would accurately gauge where we were at in this Championship Defense Campaign. The Bucs lost to a bad Saints team, then followed the Bye Week with a very disappointing loss to the Washington Football Team. The Giants game at home; I felt fell short of being a good gauge on the team. The Colts on the road, though, is a much different story. We have been horrible on the road this season. This game would pit us against a talented team on the rise in their own house — a Colts team with a running back who will surely be up for MVP consideration by season’s end. I’ll admit that the first half had me concerned. I think it did most of us to differing degrees. All worries were thrown out like empty beer cans when Shaq Barrett forced a fumble by Carson Wentz and then recovered it, giving the Bucs the ball; and turning momentum over to the Bucs for good. video of the fumble and all game highlights – courtesy of The Colts would have some moments, but the Barrett play was where the game turned. All hats off to Leonard Fournette, who had the game of his career. He finished up with 100 rushing yards on 17 carries for a 5.9-yard average and three touchdowns. Fournette also had seven receptions for 34 yards and another touchdown. I still believe that Jones is the better pure runner, but Lenny played with heart and purpose and never let up, helping the Bucs win this one on the road. It’s something I hope the coaches won’t shy away from in the future. Our running game is a resource that should be explored more often. It can only help the passing game. With this probably being Ronald Jones’ last season in Tampa, we should take advantage of what he offers before he’s gone. Honestly, with how little we usually run the ball, it offers no chance to develop Ke’Shawn Vaughn into the back we all think he can be. Vaughn has 31 yards on 8 carries in 21. The Buccaneers are a pass-early, pass-late, and pass-often team, I know, but like this last Sunday, there are times when the run game is the way to go. So there are chances for all of the backs to get reps; meanwhile, back on the ranch. The Bucs (8-3) made a statement last Sunday. They showed us some of that fire that all champions possess. It seemed to have been awol for a while. The Bucs have another bye week; oops, I mean the Falcons this week. So no letdowns please, play fast and play strong. The Colts (6-6) are the best .500 team in football, and they also get a powder puff when they travel to the Lone Star State and battle the Texans in week #13.


Titans at Patriots (36-13)

Winners of six in a row, the Patriots (8-4) are ripping through their schedule with a rookie quarterback and a very stingy defense. It is hard to believe this team started out 2-4 before the win streak. They completely manhandled the Titans (8-4), which now look very much like a team losing their way. Since reeling off six wins in a row, they have fallen to the Texans and Patriots in consecutive weeks. The lone bright spot for Tennessee may have been that they have found a pretty good backup to fill in for Derrick Henry until he can rejoin the team, possibly at playoff time. Dontrell Hilliard ran 12 times for 131 yards and a touchdown averaging over ten yards a carry. D’Onta Foreman also rushed 19 times for 109 yards for a 5.9-yard average. The Titans ran up 270 yards on the Patriots, but they needed 470 yards to have had a chance. Ryan Tannehill only threw 21 times for a measly 93 yards, very Eagleesque, really. Three of their last five are against teams they should beat. The Dolphins and 49ers are the only two tough ones they have left. Both of these teams should make the playoffs if they can take care of business. The Patriots have the harder row to hoe. They play the Bills, the Colts, and then the Bills again; the tough challenges. They must also face the Dolphins in Miami for their regular-season finale. Only the Jaguars appear to be a sure win in their last five, and even that’s not guaranteed.


Rams at Packers (28-36)

The network game of the week for Fox turned out to be a pretty good one. Matt Stafford’s 302 yards and three touchdowns weren’t enough for the Rams (7-4) when you add an interception and a fumble to his stats. The Packers (9-3) regained their playoff form after losing to the Vikings in week #11. Aaron Rodgers didn’t turn the ball over and threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Realistically the Packers have only one playoff-caliber team left on the schedule, that being the Ravens. Their toughest games should be behind them now. The Rams must still face the Cardinals, Ravens, and 49ers. It’s conceivable that the Rams season is in serious distress. The 49ers are picking up steam now at 6-5, and the Cardinals, of course (9-2), could get Kyler Murray back right in time for the final stretch, leading to the playoffs. If the Rams don’t get busy getting it right, they are going to miss out this season — a far cry from how they looked when they beat the Buccaneers early in the season.


Browns at Ravens (10-16)

The Ravens (8-3) continue to find a way to win close games. They had to overcome four interceptions by Lamar Jackson to walk away winners this past Sunday. Jackson found a wide-open tight end Mark Andrews who had come from the back of the end zone to help out his scrambling signal-caller. That score was the difference as the Browns couldn’t offer up much offense in this one. The Ravens have been lucky for the most part in 2021; they better hope that continues. Don’t lose that rabbit’s foot, Mr. Jackson. Baker Mayfield was under five hundred, going 18 of 37 for 247 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and one lost fumble. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns (6-6) start to look for a replacement in the not too distant future. Mayfield is serviceable but has turned out to be not quite as awesome this season as he was in 2020, leading the Browns to the playoffs and an 11-5 record. They aren’t out of it just yet at five hundred, but the door is closing for sure. Winning out would probably be their only chance at making the postseason this year.

 Here is my top ten. They are based on how the teams are playing at this point in the season. Pre-season predictions bear no weight in my choices. “What have you done for me, lately?” rules this day.

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. New England Patriots
  6. Baltimore Ravens
  7. Buffalo Bills
  8. Cincinnati Bengals
  9. Dallas Cowboys
  10. Tennessee Titans
  11. Los Angelas Rams
  12. San Francisco 49ers
  13. Indianapolis Colts
  14. Los Angelas Chargers